Ryan Howard's successful first week

Phillies first baseman Ryan Howard, right, with third base coach Ryne Sandberg. (David Maialetti/Staff Photographer)

We’re less than one week into the Grapefruit League schedule, but among the encouraging signs since games began is Ryan Howard’s offensive prowess.

Howard hit his first home run of the spring this afternoon. It was an opposite field shot of a guy who appeared on National League MVP ballots last fall: Atlanta Braves closer Craig Kimbrel.

Howard also doubled in his first at-bat. That came off a left-hander, Braves starter Paul Maholm.

Howard has already headed back to the clubhouse, another productive day finished.

Here’s a quick look at Howard’s numbers through six games:

Overall, Howard is 8-for-15 (.533) with three doubles and a home run. He’s struck out three times and walked twice.

Perhaps more impressive, Howard’s numbers against lefthanders this spring: 4-for-6 (.667), two doubles and one strikeout.

Howard has played in all six Grapefruit League games. So far, so good.